RealTime IT News

Windows Live One Care Beta Goes Live

Generally speaking, it's not a good idea to run an unprotected Windows PC. But it hasn't always been as easy as it should be. Windows OneCare Live is an effort to make it easier.

After six months of non-public beta testing, Microsoft has opened up its Windows OneCare Live into a widely available public beta.

Windows OneCare Live is a subscription-based service that provides automated performance tuning, maintenance, anti-spyware and anti-virus protection. It was first announced in May.

Yoav Schwartz, a lead program manager at Microsoft, explained on the OneCare blog that Windows OneCare Live has been in what Microsoft calls a "managed beta" since this summer.

A major refresh of the service was launched at the end of October. The new features include the ability to back up to external hard drives, receive Microsoft updates, and automatically scan files received via IM. The product now includes, "automated assistance in uninstalling products that conflict with Windows OneCare."

Samantha McManus, business strategy manager for communications for Microsoft, explained that in the earlier phases of the beta testing for the OneCare service, Microsoft worked with several thousand beta testers to get feedback. That feedback has been incorporated into the current beta.

"Our goal with this phase of the beta is to begin to solicit more input from a broader set of consumers," McManus said.

Microsoft is billing the OneCare service as a PC health service, a single stop for fixing all that ails a PC and that is fundamentally different from other currently available services. Other vendors like Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro, however, all offer various forms of anti-virus, anti-spyware and PC maintenance applications, as well.

"Windows Live is all about keeping the user at the center of the experience and adapting to the consumers' changing demands," McManus explained. "We are constantly integrating user feedback to improve the Windows OneCare Live experience. Ultimately, final product availability will be determined by this consumer feedback, but we are targeting sometime next year."

The public beta is now available for download.